Said Ghordi


John Searle’s concern with Free Will primarily focuses on the concepts he set up in The Relationship between Body and Mind, the chapter where he wanted to show that our perception of this relationship is compatible with our view of nature as a physical system, an issue that puts the concept of “free” will into a dilemma. This is because will requires freedom, multiple possibilities of choice in terms of the actions we take, selecting the best option, making and implementing a rational decision, and more importantly, a constant opening up to the experiential action in its ontological implications, which means that we can always do otherwise, that is to say, it is a free experience. This is different from physics such as statistical physics, be it deterministic or non-deterministic, does not offer any possibility to approach free will. Although some experiments conducted in psychology are open to evidence, which implies that a person actually has free will, they do not allow for generalization. To solve this dilemma, Searle emphasizes again that physics is as such because it proceeds from the bottom-up, meaning that the partial elements (represented in the human nervous system, for example) are the ones that exercise control over the general manifestations of the matter / body. Therefore, it is natural that we do not encounter the free will of man on the level of the body. Conversely, the transition from the top to the bottom in the human condition, that is, from the mind - which is based on the properties of consciousness, intentionality, causation, and subjectivity - to the nervous system highlights the extent to which free will occupies its status in Searle's representation of the top-down relationship between the mind and the body.


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Free Will

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How to Cite
Ghordi, Said. 2022. “Free Will, by John R. Searle”. ANSAQ Journal 5 (2).